To constable waits till everyone has some food and drink in front of them before he starts talking. Your host Muriel brings out steaming meat pies and overfull tankards of some of the best ale you've ever had. Everyone is momentarily quiet as you fill your bellies with some good food. The constable grins and says "Excellent. Eat your fill. If you want more, just ask."
He continues "Now then, as you can see, our little town here exists because of the port. In case you didn't know, the Deepsea ain't so deep around the coast. It's pretty shallow, and has lots of reefs and obstructions that make it quite tricky to get in and out of here. That's why you'll only see smaller draft boats around here. If anything larger than a sloop or schooner comes in here, it has to drop anchor offshore and have cargo ferried to it. So most of the lumber and all the goods from the East side of the Reaches goes through here. We get goods and riches via caravan as well, they come in from the other towns and villages, and they get warehoused and eventually loaded up on a boat to who knows where."
"The last several caravans from Fair Bluff, the next village to the west, have reported being accosted by bandits while at rest about one or two days away from here, depending on how you travel. It's a bit odd, you'd think they'd be a bit sneaky about it, but almost every caravan through has encountered these roadside ruffians. There are several areas along the Dukes Road where you can pull off the track and camp for the night, and this seems to be happening at the same campsite every time." He describes the location (southern part of hex 14,12, adjacent the woods, next to the road) "It happens the same way every time, as the caravan settles in for dinner, the crooks sneak in to pilfer from the unattended wagons. The first couple times no one caught on till they got here and noticed some goods missing. Then the third time an alert watchman saw someone helping themselves to some trade goods, but he couldn't catch them. It kept happening, nothing of real consequence has been stolen, but about 10 days ago, one of the caravan guards was found with his throat slit, and a few sacks of the Duke's coin was missing." He thumps his fist angrily on the table and says "It'll be a cold day before I'll let someone get murdered on their way here and no one answers for it. My garrison is stretched thin, I've only got a dozen men here at the moment, the rest are between Fair Bluff and the fort. I can't spare anyone, and there's another caravan due here in three days. That leaves you, uh I mean me, only a day to get someone on their way to sort this out."
He sighs and says "You're a capable looking lot, but there aren't many of you. There's another fella staying here that I'v'e approached and he was eager to help, but he said he needed a some folks to travel with on account that he's not too handy with a sword. He can join you. I'm afraid that's all the manpower I've been able to muster. I want these people brought to justice. But at the very least, I don't want any more bloodshed, unless it's these crooks. I'd prefer that they're captured and returned to us for questioning and whatnot. But if they won't come peacefully, do what you must. Either way, we want them OR their remains as evidence."
He pauses for a long drink from his tankard and then says "With this damned fort being built, they've taken a bunch of my men AND horses. I don't have enough horses for all of you, but I can spare two horses and a wagon, that should help you get there in good time. I may be able to get you a few supplies - nothing fancy, but some rope, rations, torches, that sort of thing, if you need it. Oh, I almost forgot - I'll pay you 25 gold each if you go, meet the caravan and encounter nothing, returning with the caravan. I'll pay you 50 gold each if you run into these thugs, plus 25 gold for each body you bring back. And if you should be able to capture these fiends, I'll pay you each 100 gold, and 50 gold for each prisoner. The horse and wagon need to be returned to me as good as I gave them to you, you can keep the supplies, and anything you find, with the exception of any coin or property that is clearly that of the Duke. If you recover the missing bags of coin, we'll reward you accordingly." He exhales loudly and says "That was a lot to take in. Sorry. So what do you think? We'd be indebted to you all if you could help us out."